Sen. Collins to announce this morning whether she will run for governor

Mark Dion

Collins told a gathering in Rockport this morning that her seniority in the U.S. Senate has allowed her to secure vital funding for various programs and organizations in Maine.

After several months of open deliberations about her future, Senator Susan Collins of ME announced Friday that she would not run for governor and would remain in the Senate.

"As a strong supporter of Susan Collins, if I had to pick which job she would do, I couldn't", said Lance Dutson, a Republican political operative in Maine who worked on Collins' 2014 campaign. Her final decision, she said, came down to "my sense of where I can do the most for the people of Maine and for the nation". Instead, Collins said she will remain in the Senate at least until her current term ends in 2020.

Collins has won her four senate contests by an average margin of 20 percentage points by drawing support across the political spectrum. As one of the few moderates in a closely divided Senate, she is often a swing vote, and, as she demonstrated during the health care debate, she can often influence the outcome of important legislation. Just like in the rest of the state, some people think she should run for Governor, while others believe she should stay put in the Senate. Additionally, Collins would have control of the state bureaucracy, potentially using it and the bully pulpit of the governor's office to advance a policy agenda to work on initiatives that could improve Maine's economic outlook.

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Collins and LePage mark out the two poles of the state's Republican party, with the senator routinely working with Democrats in Washington while the governor has regularly fought with his rivals in the state capital Augusta.

LePage is an ally of President Donald Trump, whom Collins has publicly criticized in the past.

A Collins governorship could have arguably reversed that trend.

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